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Letters to the Editor

Engineers are dumb. We think numbers are symbols of objectivity. Lives depend on our calculations and experience.

In the preamble to our Code of Ethics we are "expected to exhibit the highest standards of honesty and integrity." We expect no less in those we deal with. We don't begin with the answer and cherry-pick data for verification.

A residential appraiser is also advised by a code of ethics, which clearly states that the primary obligation is to reach a pertinent conclusion "regardless of the client's wishes or instructions."

Engineers don't submit a 30-page report with an opinion that the value of a house matches the selling price, and a month later, after decisions are made and documents signed, revises it downward by $30,000 to more closely match the underwriter's desire. Engineers don't return to doctor the internal numbers to support the new "opinion."

But, if the engineer did do that — the engineer would not be dumb enough to not change the date of the report. One appraiser, two reports, same date, $30,000 difference. Next time around, I'm going to come as an appraiser — except I don't know how I could live with myself. — Seymour Collins, Ashland

The April 5 article "Courting disaster" raised my hackles.

County Justice Court Judge Joe Charter was whining about the state taking too much of the "pirate's booty" from the sheriff's traffic tickets/Justice Court scam. By what authority is the sheriff involved in traffic (commerce) anyway? Behold ORS 206.010, sheriff's duties:

1. The sheriff is the chief executive officer and conservator of the peace of the county. In the execution of the office of sheriff, it is the sheriff's duty to:

(1) Arrest and commit to prison all persons who break the peace,

(2) Defend the county against those who, by riot or otherwise, endanger the public ...

(3) Execute the process and orders of the courts of justice.

(4) Execute all warrants delivered to the sheriff

(5) Attend, upon call, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Oregon Tax Court, circuit court, justice court or county court held within the county.

So, is the Justice Court ordering the sheriff to plunder the people by his illegal use of emergency lights for strictly non-emergency, commerce-only operations, just to fund the county/state? If not, who is? The sheriff's traffic division and Justice Court should both be abolished as shameful frauds. — Pat Patterson, Central Point

In his analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline (April 6), retiring director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Dr. James Hansen, is exactly correct. The costs associated with the pipeline are immense and will be suffered by humanity throughout the planet; the benefits, meanwhile, are only monetary and will be enjoyed by just a few oil corporation executives.

We know that preserving a livable planet for future generations requires leaving four-fifths of the known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. Deciding which to leave should involve assessing energy returned on energy invested. By this measure, tar sands oil is the worst source of fossil fuel available, since it barely breaks even. Additionally, tar sands oil extraction and processing are the most carbon-emitting methods known and are done by open pit mining, which lays barren vast areas of boreal coniferous forest — an ecosystem which traps and sequesters carbon.

If a bank guard's defense was: "If I hadn't allowed the robbers in, they would have found a way in anyway," he would be laughed out of court. It is equally unacceptable with Keystone. President Obama and Representative Walden might better support the carbon fee-and-rebate proposal. — Kenneth Deveney, Ashland

Since the beginning of time (as we know it), people have been killing people.

Remember Cain and Abel? For centuries people annihilated people without benefit of guns. Chicago outlawed guns but reported over 2,000 killings in 2012. Until people lay down their arms and pick up their morals and begin following their savior, the constant killing will continue. Satan is real and constantly thwarts the savior's plan for us. That's his job. If we followed the savior's counsel we could have paradise on earth, but we know that won't happen until he returns.

Outlawing guns sounds good to those who would like to control us, but it operates from a faulty premise. Of course "the law" wouldn't give up theirs. Did the SS give up theirs? Germany had great gun control under Hitler.

As for eliminating 30-round magazines, any gun owner can tell you it only takes seconds to replace 10-round magazines. No big advantage there.

Until gun control is replaced by self control, the latter will never overcome the former. — Bill Smart, Talent